Dr Heather Mortiboys PhD

Senior Research Fellow

Department of Neuroscience
Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience
University of Sheffield
Room B27
385a Glossop Road
S10 2HQ

Tel: +44 (0)114 2222259
Email: h.mortiboys@sheffield.ac.uk



I was awarded my PhD from the International Max Planck PhD Program in Dresden Germany in 2006 with the grade summa cum laude; this project focused on the ‘Influence of mitochondrial energy metabolism on cellular function: implications for neurometabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.’ After which I worked in the Neurology department at the University Hospital Dresden as a research associate on an EU funded project investigating Co-enzyme Q deficiency in patient tissue.

I joined the Neuroscience department at the University of Sheffield in 2006 to set up mitochondrial investigations in models of Parkinson’s Disease working as a postdoctoral research associate with Prof. Oliver Bandmann.

I recently became a Parkinson’s UK Senior Research Fellow based within the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) to continue and expand this work setting up my own laboratory.

Research Interests

My research interests are concerned with investigating mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases, primarily focused on Parkinson’s Disease. This encompasses mitochondrial function, DNA, morphology and recycling. My research focuses on both trying to further the understanding of the causes of mitochondrial problems in neurodegenerative conditions and in vitro drug screening for molecules which rescue mitochondrial function in patient tissue.

Teaching Interests

I teach in the MSc courses in Translational Neuroscience, Clinical Neurology and Molecular Medicine focussing on protein assay work and basic cell biology assays, the pathogenetic mechanisms involved in Parkinson’s Disease and critical review of the literature teaching. I also teach on the undergraduate Biomedical Science course on the module the Biological Basis of Brain Disease. I enjoy training and supervising MSc and BMedSci students during their research projects.

Current Projects
  • Drug re-purposing in Parkinson’s Disease
  • LRRK2 and mitochondria
  • What role does mitochondrial DNA have in neurodegeneration?
  • Drug targeting of mitophagy

Dr Mortiboys’ research is supported by Parkinson’s UK, Newllife and the University of Sheffield.


Research Collaborations

Oliver Bandmann, SITraN, University of Sheffield
Val Gillet, Information School, University of Sheffield
Joanna Poulton, Nuffield Dept Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford

Research Team

  • Mohammed Karami (MSc student)
  • Lisa Trollope (PhD student)
  • Karla L Robles Lopez (PhD student)
  • Martin Whittle (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Key publications

Allen S, Duffy L, Mortiboys H, Higginbottom A, Grierson AJ, Shaw PJ (2013) SOD1 mutation leads to altered metabolic pathways for energy generation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patient fibroblasts. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Epub ahead of print.

Flinn LJ, Keatinge M, Bretaud S, Mortiboys H, Matsui H, De Felice E, Brown L, McTighe A, Soellner R, Allen CE, Heath PR, Milo M, Reichert AS, Köster RW, Ingham PI, Bandmann O (2013) TigarB as a novel disease-modifying target in PINK1 deficiency. Annals of Neurology, 74(6):837-47.

Mortiboys H, Aasly J, Bandmann O (2013) Ursocholanic acid rescues mitochondrial function in common forms of familial Parkinson’s disease. Brain,  136(Pt 10):3038-50

Mortiboys H, Cox A, Brock IW, Bandmann O (2013) The Parkinson’s Disease mutation LRRK2 G2019S is not increased in breast cancer patients in the absence of Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neurology, 260(8):2177-8.

Mortiboys H, Johansen KK, Aasly JO, Bandmann O (2010). Mitochondrial impairment in patients with Parkinson disease with the G2019S mutation in LRRK2. Neurology.75(22):2017-20.

Tain LS, Mortiboys H, Tao RN, Ziviani E, Bandmann O, Whitworth AJ. (2009) Rapamycin activation of 4E-BP prevents parkinsonian dopaminergic neuron loss. Nat Neurosci. 12(9):1129-35.

Mortiboys H, Thomas KJ, Koopman WJ, Klaffke S, Abou-Sleiman P, Olpin S, Wood NW, Willems PH, Smeitink JA, Cookson MR, Bandmann O. (2008) Mitochondrial function and morphology are impaired in parkin-mutant fibroblasts. Ann Neurol. 64(5):555-65.